On 16 June 2015 Susie and Pavel travelled to St. Albans, UK, to run back-to-back Open Data Youth Challenges for 60 Oakland’s College students. After arriving at the venue, The Discovery Centre, 21c team was joined by partners from Aecom, Microsoft and Silicon Abbey who in turn helped to deliver introductory presentations, advise students on the app concept and the business model, and assess student pitches that took place during the final stage of each session. In total, 12 teams took part in the challenging competition – six in the morning and six in the afternoon. Mobile applications that were created in the morning include Upside Down Town, a solution designed to make it easier to build edifices above ground from the recycled material, Lego Minds, an app that helps to build your own city from Lego bricks, hi5, an app that gives clear, easy-to-follow and simple instructions to get to the play areas, rides and a swimming pool, St. Albans Travel, an app for people of all ages interested in exploring their local area, Saint History, an app that allows local people and tourists to visit historic sites and arrange funeral services, and Tunes 4 You, an app that aims to rival Ticketmaster, a mobile web site that helps people find and buy tickets for their favourite events. After twenty minutes of deliberations dragons finally made their decisions. Tunes 4 You received a prize for the best business model idea, Saint History for the best use of Open Data and community focus, St. Albans Travel for the best export potential, hi5 for the best presentation and Upside Down Town for the best innovative idea.
No sooner had the last prize been awarded than the new group of students filled the room. Mobile applications that were created in the afternoon session include Confused Panda, an app that allows users to interact with one another, post pictures and shop for clothes, Sports Experience, an app that helps people buy and rent sports equipment, Starlight Campsite, a solution that enables users to book holidays and find a perfect campsite, among other things, Flipper Flopper, a web app that you can use to create funny gravestones, The Box Office, a solution similar to Tunes 4 You, and Explore the Unlocked, an app that allows people to get rewards after they dispose of their rubbish and scan the barcode on the rubbish bin. After some deliberations dragons decided to give Explore the Unlocked a prize for the greatest social impact. The Box Office received a prize for the best customer focus, Flipper Flopper for the best app, Starlight Campsite for the best real-digital nexus, Sports Experience for promoting equality & diversity, and Confused Panda for the most innovative financial model. The students left the room bursting with excitement and content with their performance in front of the dragons. 21c team and its partners also felt happy, not least because their work went some way towards inculcating Open Data and entrepreneurship culture in young children, thus laying the foundation for future growth and prosperity in Britain.